Opposition leader Shorten accuses ‘government of savages’ of ‘censorship’ with ABC cuts

Labor leader Bill Shorten has labelled the federal government a “government of savages” over the cuts being implemented at the ABC and accused them of “effective censorship of independent broadcasting in this country”.

Yesterday the public broadcaster announced measures it would take over $207m of cuts being handed down by the government, which included cutting 400 jobs including 100 from news, and cutting all non-news TV broadcasting outside of Sydney and Melbourne, prompting fears of centralisation of the broadcaster.

Addressing a rally against the cuts in Canberra today Shorten said “what on earth gave licence to this government of savages to attack the ABC?” pointing to Prime Minister’s pre-election promise not to cut the ABC or SBS, and promising Labor would increase funding to the broadcasters.

During the address he referred to “the great petition of Christopher Pyne”, after the Education Minister started a petition to prevent the Adelaide production unit from being shut, and described Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull as an “associate savage”.

“I know what’s important to Australians. Having an independent public broadcaster is fundamental to the kind of democracy we want to be,” he said. “Let’s call it for what it is, this is a government who says it is for competition, but we know this Liberal Abbott government, this government of savages and associate savage Malcolm Turnbull, if they have their way these cuts are the effective censorship of independent broadcasting in this country.

“We know what’s at stake, it is the services and it is the right of any Australian anywhere in Australia of any background of any age to get public broadcasting.”

The attack comes after unions and pressure group Friends of the ABC decried the cuts and job losses yesterday.


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